Human papillomavirus

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Micrograph showing block positive p16 immunostaining in high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion of the cervix. p16 is commonly used as a surrogate marker for human papillomavirus (HPV). (WC)

Human papillomavirus, abbreviated HPV, is virus implicated in a large number of cancers.


  • Sexually transmitted.


  • Some tests can be done on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue.[1]

Associated pathology

Oncocytic types

Known as "high risk" types; this grouping includes:[5]

  • HPV 18 - predominantly adenocarcinoma.[6]
    • Eighteen = adenocarcinoma.
  • HPV 16 - predominantly squamous cell carcinoma.[6]
    • Sixteen = squamous.
  • HPV 31.
  • HPV 33.
  • HPV 45.


Quick & dirty explanation of pathogenesis:[7][8]

  • Virus integrates into host genome.
    • This is accompanied by loss of viral gene E2 (which suppresses function of E6 & E7).
  • Viral gene E6 dysregulates p53.
  • Viral gene E7 dysregulates RB.


Recombinant vaccine (Gardasil, Silgard) - covers:[9]

  • HPV 6.
  • HPV 11.
  • HPV 16.
  • HPV 18.



  • Koilocytes:
    • Perinuclear clearing.
    • Nuclear changes.
      • Size similar (or larger) to those in the basal layer of the epithelium.
      • Nuclear enlargement should be evident on low power, i.e. 25x.
      • Central location - nucleus should be smack in the middle of the cell.



  • p16 +ve -- stains most cells infected by HPV.


See also


  1. Black, CC.; Bentley, HA.; Davis, TH.; Tsongalis, GJ. (Dec 2010). "Use of a linear array for the detection of human papillomavirus genotypes in head and neck cancer.". Arch Pathol Lab Med 134 (12): 1813-7. doi:10.1043/2009-0592-OAR.1. PMID 21128780.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Borget, I.; Abramowitz, L.; Mathevet, P. (Jul 2011). "Economic burden of HPV-related cancers in France.". Vaccine 29 (32): 5245-9. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.05.018. PMID 21616117.
  3. Zhang, QY.; Zhang, DH.; Shen, ZY.; Xu, LY.; Li, EM.; Au, WW. (Mar 2011). "Infection and integration of human papillomavirus in esophageal carcinoma.". Int J Hyg Environ Health 214 (2): 156-61. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2010.11.001. PMID 21130683.
  4. Iyer, A.; Rajendran, V.; Adamson, CS.; Peng, Z.; Cooper, K.; Evans, MF. (Mar 2011). "Human papillomavirus is detectable in Barrett's esophagus and esophageal carcinoma but is unlikely to be of any etiologic significance.". J Clin Virol 50 (3): 205-8. doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2010.11.015. PMID 21169053.
  5. Ntova, CK.; Kottaridi, C.; Chranioti, A.; Spathis, A.; Kassanos, D.; Paraskevaidis, E.; Karakitsos, P. (2012). "Genetic Variability and Phylogeny of High Risk HPV Type 16, 18, 31, 33 and 45 L1 Gene in Greek Women.". Int J Mol Sci 13 (1): 1-17. doi:10.3390/ijms13010001. PMID 22312235.
  6. 6.0 6.1 De Boer, MA.; Peters, LA.; Aziz, MF.; Siregar, B.; Cornain, S.; Vrede, MA.; Jordanova, ES.; Fleuren, GJ. (Apr 2005). "Human papillomavirus type 18 variants: histopathology and E6/E7 polymorphisms in three countries.". Int J Cancer 114 (3): 422-5. doi:10.1002/ijc.20727. PMID 15551313.
  7. Münger, K.; Howley, PM. (Nov 2002). "Human papillomavirus immortalization and transformation functions.". Virus Res 89 (2): 213-28. PMID 12445661.
  8. Mitchell, Richard; Kumar, Vinay; Fausto, Nelson; Abbas, Abul K.; Aster, Jon (2011). Pocket Companion to Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease (8th ed.). Elsevier Saunders. pp. 169. ISBN 978-1416054542.
  9. McCormack, PL.; Joura, EA. (Oct 2011). "Spotlight on Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus(Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recombinant Vaccine(Gardasil®) in the Prevention of PremalignantGenital Lesions, Genital Cancer, and Genital Warts in Women†.". BioDrugs 25 (5): 339-43. doi:10.2165/11205060-000000000-00000. PMID 21942919.